Torch, Fall 1996

----~--~~--------- I ~ ,_ Savior. To redeem all humanity Jesus had to pay the price for human sin. The scenes depicting his abuse at the hands of the Roman soldiers and his suffering on the cross are hauntingly reminiscent of the sin and consequences of Genesis 3. Jesus wore a crown of thorns that were a direct result of Adam's sin (Genesis 3:18). The scepter that the soldiers gave Him reminds us again of the rule which God entrusted to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-28). They foolishly forfeited their role as God's rulers when they sinned (Genesis 3:17). Even on the cross, exposed and humiliated, Jesus bore the shame of nakedness that God graciously covered up for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). In these ways, Jesus humbly suffered the consequences of Adam's sin to become the promised redeemer, but this is only half of the story. The glorious side of the story is most clearly told in the final book of the New Testament, appropriately named The Revelation of Jesus Christ. God designed this book to complement and balance the portrait of Jesus given in the Gospels . It reveals a picture of Jesus painted in vivid colors that was previously sketched in only muted tones. Now we see Him not only as a redeemer but also as a king. This is a remarkable contrast and complement to the humble Jesus of the passion week. Revelation 19:11-16 proclaims that this same Jesus will not come back in a humble way on a donkey, but victoriously on a white steed as conquering King. His royal countenance will be adorned not with a crown of thorns but with "many diadems" because He is much more than simply "the King of the Jews"; He is now the King of Kings. He will wear a glorious garment that will be dipped in blood, but this time the blood to be shed will be that of His enemies, not His own. The scepter with which He will rule will not be a Roman reed of mockery, but a rod of iron (19:15). Jesus, the suffering Savior, will return as conquering King. The ultimate goal is not simply to conquer, but more important, to reign. In the final chapters of Revelation, John reveals a few tantalizing foretastes of what life will be like when the Savior assumes His role as Sovereign on earth. In chapter 20, John sees a new earth which has no sea. As one who had been exiled to an island, John must have understood how isolating the sea could be. He surely welcomed the promise of never being separated from the family of God when Jesus returned. In the next chapter, John uses the comparisons of a groom and bride (21 :2) and a father and son (21 :7) to speak of our closeness to the Lord himself. No longer will the confining regulations of Temple worship restrict access to God (21 :22); we will walk with him as Adam and Eve did in the garden. We will experience unending fellowship with God and His family. Victory over separation will be ours . The tree of life that has not appeared in Scripture since the fall of Genesis 3 reappears in the final chapter of Revelation where it yields not one, but "twelve crops of fruit" (22:2). Boredom and monotony will have no place in the kingdom; variety and fullness of life will be the order of the day. God will finally lift the curse over Torch 11 ---